Friday, June 8, 2018

No Longer Is A Cabin Simply A Cabin: The Vancouver Art Gallery's Summer 2018 Exhibition, Cabin Fever

Ah, the cabin. The sheer thought of it brings the average millennial idyllic imagery of a rustic getaway - flannel button-ups, a Hudson's Bay blanket thrown nonchalantly over a beautiful sofa, lights twinkling throughout, and a fireplace, making the scene complete. The irony of it all are the things we tell our friends and co-workers when we're about to go away. "I need to disconnect, there's too much technology around me." Of course, the second we get to the cabin we immediately check if we have reception, dig for the WiFi password, start Instagramming to our stories so everyone can see JUST how perfect our lodging experience is. Pinterest, eat your heart out.

The cabin is quintessential to North American culture. As Jennifer Volland, independent curator and writer put it at the press release on June 7th at the Vancouver Art Gallery, "No longer is a cabin simply a cabin" and as we later found out, you're really living when you have two homes. 

Volland explains she found inspiration for the exhibit while she spent several years working on her own cabin with her family on the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Cabin Fever looks at the relationship to land and place, the history of the cabin as a cultural construct. It explores the evolution through three themes: "Shelter", "Utopia", and "Porn".

"Shelter" sees the cabin as a necessity, a place that was historically an emergency relief. It was a refugee haven. "Utopia" then sees the cabin being viewed at as the ideal destination for introspection. As the exhibit explains, "For many writers, the cabin has served not only as a locale to do work, but also as a source of inspiration." Finally, "Porn" places the cabin as a beacon of relaxation and luxury of popular culture. 

The exhibit guides you through these three themes through 17 architectural models in chronological order, drawings, photography, historical documents, video, and two full-scale installations by American artist and filmmaker James Benning and a full-size cabin by Canadian artist Liz Magor. 

The exhibit will run from June 9th to September 30th, organized by the Vancouver Art Gallery and curated by Jennifer M. Volland, Guest Curator, Bruce Grenville, Senior Curator and Stephanie Rebick, Associate Curator.  



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